Genetic diversity refers to amount of gene characteristics found in the DNA of a certain species, and it is extremely important to the well being of that species. Genetic diversity and biodiversity are dependent on each other, and a healthy collection of genes is good for a species and their future offspring. This healthy collection of genes, those active and not are what best prepare an organism for survival in its environment, for example the difference in environment prompted a change in the squirrel's genome so that one select species evolved a patagium, which is specialized membrane that stretches between the wrist and ankles. A normal squirrel would not adapt to its counter part's environment, as its disadvantage leaves it susceptible to predators, be it birds from above or snakes in the trees. Low genetic diversity can be detrimental to a population, in-adaptability to the environment can decimate it, the lack of variation in genes can leave them vulnerable to disease, eradicating the species. Low genetic diversity can be intentional or unintentional, intentional cases are usually those of agriculture, where as an unintentional case of low genetic diversity can be the result of natural disaster, this causes a bottleneck effect.
A case of low biodiversity was recently revealed by researchers at Durham University, who concentrated their studies on the killer whale, and their ever falling number in population from the last Ice Age. The decline in diversity began about 40,000 years ago when many parts of this world were covered in ice, but for the killer whales, the richest currents, where there still were currents anyways, was the best place to reside. However, a number of killer whale pod, off the Californian coast, Humboldt off South America, and the Canary Islands were not fortunate enough to find themselves in those rich current. This created a bottleneck effect among the killer whales, with only a pod off the coast of South Africa maintaining its genetic diversity. Even during a tumultuous time such as 40,000 years ago, great genetic diversity means a greater population, therefore we cannot sum up a population decline to shortage of food, or the inefficient hunting of early man. For a species to be so well spread out about the world, essentially as well globally distributed as humans, their genetic diversity should be much greater.
The concern here is that similar to that period, a time when the environment was changing around the organisms inhabiting it, today we face the same issue. The world is changing around us, research has backed that, and we need to be proactive in a fight to maintain all that we have on the early today, to minimize the decline in population, because each organism is important to the functionality of its environment. As previously stated, a decline in genetic diversity leades to a decline in biodiversity, the loss of a species or the majority of it means changes in the environment, which leades to adaption among the species left, whether that be for better or for worse, but I have yet to see a disruption of that magnitude return a positive product.
Posted by Thomas Flores (2)